Round Rock Express 3, Chihuahuas 1
Key Statistics: 1B Taylor Kohlwey 1-4, DH Aderlin Rodriguez 1-4, 2B; C Luis Campusano 1-4, LHP MacKenzie Gore 5.0 IP 2 H 0 R 0 ER 7 K; RHP Pedro Avila (L, 0-1) 3.0 IP 4 H 3 R 3 ER BB 4 K 2 HR.
Prospect Watch: Pedro Avila gave up a two-run home run in the sixth, and a solo shot in the eighth inning as the Round Rock Express won their second straight game and dropped the Chihuahuas to 3-2 on the season as the Padres Triple-A affiliate was held to three hits. But no one came here to read that.
MacKenzie Gore, who may have re-established himself as the organization’s top prospect with an electric spring, consolidated his gains with a masterful opening performance in Triple-A. When we caught his first simulated game in early March, he impressively hit 99 with reestablished command and continued his upward trajectory through the abbreviated camp except for one bad outing.
Saturday night in Austin, Gore threw 43 of his 63 pitches for strikes and didn’t issue a walk. While he was sitting in the mid-90s and touching 98 occasionally, the most noticeable difference from last year was his ability to put the ball where he wanted to in the strike zone. While that will justifiably get all the attention, his secondaries – particularly his slider – were just as good. In our season preview of El Paso, Padres Minor League Coordinator Mark Conner emphasized that Gore’s revamped mechanics and timing are a big reason for where he is now.
Notes: Luis Campusano made his season debut for the Chihuahuas behind the plate and was 1-4 with a single. Conner also addressed what the organization is looking for from Campusano, our Player of the Year for El Paso, in his return to Triple-A.
Transaction: LHP Ramon Perez, who made a spot start Friday to allow the rotation to get lined up, was transferred back to the Double-A Missions roster before the game.
Missions 3, Corpus Christi Hooks 2
Key Statistics: 3B Brandon Dixon 2-4, HR (1), RBI; CF Esteury Ruiz 1-4, HR (1) RBI; SS Korry Howell 1-3, HR (1); RHP Matt Waldron 5.0 IP 2 H R ER 2 K; RHP Angel Felipe (W, 1-0) 1.0 IP 2 BB 2 K; RHP Kevin Kopps (S,1) 1.0 IP 2 H K.
Prospect Watch: After being destroyed 14-2 in the opener, San Antonio bounced back with a tight 3-2 victory on three solo home runs. Recently acquired Korry Howell broke a tie with a shot to dead center in the top of the ninth with two outs. Howell, 23, primarily played center field at two levels in the Brewers system last year, but San Diego plans to give him opportunities back in the infield – mainly at shortstop – where he started his career. … Esteury Ruiz led off the eighth inning with a home run after making a spectacular diving defensive play in center field to end the seventh and save a pair of runs. The dynamic outfielder, still just 23, will be looking to make more consistent contact this year. … After getting the first out of the ninth, Kevin Kopps gave up a single and a double. Kopps then uncorked what looked like a wild pitch, but catcher Chandler Seagle made a great play to help him out, throwing out the baserunner trying to score. Kopps then came back with a strikeout to finish the game and earn his first save of the year.
TinCaps and Dayton Dragons postponed
Saturday’s game was postponed and the clubs will play two seven-inning games Sunday to make it up if the weather cooperates.
Inland Empire 66ers 9, Storm 7
Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill 2-5; CF James Wood 1-3, 2 BB, SB; RF Matt Acosta 3-4, HR (1) 2 RBI; 3B/1B Marcos Castanon 1-4, 2 RBI; DH Jared Alvarez-Lopez 2-5, 3B, 2 RBI; RHP Victor Lizarraga 3.2 IP 3 H R ER 4 BB 3 K; LHP Mason Feole (L, 0-1) (BS) 0.1 Ip 3 H 4 R 4 ER 3 BB.
David Jay was at the game and has the story here.